Eleven Indian women are among the 25 Asian ladies who have won the ‘Women Icons’ award in Singapore for dedicating their lives to social work.
Women empowerment and childcare remains on the minds of these women, who came from a number of fields for the award organised by Business Excellence & Research Group Pte Ltd and supported by Nanyang Technological University of Singapore.
Among the award winners last night was Vandana Sharma, who served for a decade in the Indian Armed Forces, broke several stereotypes around ‘Women in Uniform’ and ventured into the corporate world.
Speaking after the awards, Sharma said she mentors a lot of young start-up founders on building effective organisations.
The aim is to drive a more productive environment and culture within constraint environments at startups, said Sharma, who is currently the chief people officer at HolidayIQ and comes from a family of officers in the Indian Armed Forces.
Sharma’s contribution during the 1999 Kargil War has been recorded and commended in the Military History of Army Ordnance Corps.
Keeping with her ‘Women Empowerment’ campaign is Revathi Siddharthe Roy, who holds a Masters in Economics degree but drove taxi for 10 months in Mumbai to support her family after her husband died in 2007.
Roy now runs a training school, Zaffiro Learning, for women to learn to ride two-wheelers and serve as “last mile” delivery person for e-commerce companies.
Roy said Zaffiro Learning will put 10,000 women on two-wheelers under ‘HeyDeedee’ brand in Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Nagpur, Nasik Chennai and Kolkotta by the end of this year.
She has already put 120 women with two-wheelers for making deliveries for e-commerce companies in Mumbai and Bangalore in the past six months.
“I only work for ‘Women Empowerment’. My life is all about transforming women’s life,” said the social entrepreneur and a winner of NITI Aayog’s Women Transforming India 2016 award.
Joining in the awards was Dr Srimathy Kesan, who motivates children into Aerospace and Aeronautics subjects at her Chennai-based company, Space Kidz India.
Kesan draws children to science with the aim of building a pool of scientists in the coming year, saying India’s pool of scientists was depleting as more and more students were opting for engineering or medical studies.
“I want to encourage and motivate them to do much more in science,” said Dr Kesan who aims to have an aerospace research park in India, building on her working relationship with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the US and the Russian Space Agencies.
Kesan said her students have built and shipped to NASA a cube satellite which will be launched on a US rocket.
Other winners were: Dr Aparna Hegde of ARMMAN, Deepshikha Kumar of SpeakIn, Kanika Gupta Shori of Square Global, Minal D’Rozario of Ideosphere, Mini Dwivedi Gopinathan of PlayStreet Specially Abled Educare Trust, Saloni Mardia Kothari of Mtlexs Online, Sonia Kulkarni of Ketchum Sampark PR, and Swati Nathani of Team Pumpkin.